Game 2 of the 2016 World Series took 4-hours and 4-minutes to play. In 1908, the last time the Chicago Cubs won a World Series, they could have – and probably did – play a double header in that time. No, literally…
The games in the 1908 World Series lasted an average of 1-hour and 46-minutes? Um, yes please? Where do I sign up for that? How is it that they were able to get through entire baseball game broadcasts in less time than a soccer match back then? That’s crazy. I’ve broken this down to three main causes.
1. Fewer pitching changes
The 2016 Cleveland Indians made 6 pitching changes in Game 2. The 1908 World Series featured 6 total pitching changes between the two teams combined! And you know what happens with fewer pitching changes?
2. Fewer commercials!
Fewer pitching changes means fewer commercials and that means faster games. I know, advertiser money is very important, but how much television advertiser money did they leave on the table back in 1908? None as far as I can tell from searching old sports business reports from the early 1900’s. So how did they do it? It’s actually pretty simple.
3. Less Baseball
Look, the common thread here is baseball. The 1908 World Series was not broadcast on television. Neither were the next 40 or so World Series. And you know how long the games lasted? Not too long! So forget #1 and #2 because #3 is the key. If baseball can eliminate the baseball from baseball broadcasts, they will start to fly by. Just like in 1908.